‘Retirement readiness’ refers to the state of being financially ready for retirement, and how much an individual is on target to meet his or her retirement-income goals, to maintain a comfortable standard of living. Being ready for retirement also involves being prepared physically and emotionally as well.
Over the last few years, several surveys have found that a majority of US workers worry about financial security, and are concerned about retirement savings. The situation continues to remain the same – many working Americans have not even started saving money for retirement.
According to the Federal Reserve Board’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 (May 2019), “Many adults are struggling to save for retirement.” Among those “who have some savings, people commonly lack financial knowledge and are uncomfortable making investment decisions,” it says. The report states that while 36% of non-retired adults think that their retirement saving is on track, 44% say it is not on track, and the rest are not sure. “One-quarter of the non-retired indicate that they have no retirement savings or pension whatsoever,” it adds.
A significant number of pre-retirees in the current generation don’t have access to a pension or an employer’s DC plan. A survey-based October 2018 study by the Alliance for Lifetime Income revealed that two-thirds of pre-retirees in the workforce now have not calculated their expected retirement expenses, while half of the retirees said they had not worked out their expenses before they retired.
Lack of sufficient knowledge to make informed decisions and inadequate preparation could result in loss of confidence and anxiety about retirement.
While the government and several employers are taking steps to improve financial literacy and provide tools to support and encourage employees to plan and save for retirement, the onus is also on individuals to start reading, saving and preparing to retire when they choose to. [Listen to our podcast on how multiple employer plans or MEPs will help increase retirement coverage in the US.]
Save more, improve financial literacy
As many recent reports recommend, the first step toward retirement readiness is for employees to start saving money for retirement and to do so on a regular basis. It is also very important to read and gain more knowledge on personal finance and retirement options. A concerted effort to learn new skills, and try and extend one’s working life, is also imperative, say experts.